In the third month, Russia is going to war with Ukraine.

Pictures show bad destruction, suffering people.

But how does the Ukrainian economy work in the war?

How bad is the damage?

How many companies work?

Is spring sowing progressing, are government finances sufficient?

Numbers and reports from Kyiv cannot be verified, but they do give a picture.

Andreas Mihm

Business correspondent for Austria, Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey based in Vienna.

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"Our state and its economy lose billions of dollars every day," says President Volodymyr Zelenskyi.

Economic researchers are forecasting a severe slump in economic output.

Whether it is 35 percent compared to the 200 billion dollar gross domestic product of the previous year, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, or even 45 percent, as the World Bank assumes in its spring projection, the bloodletting is large.

The prospects for the country are bleak, exactly how bleak, depends on how the war progresses, says Wasily Astrow from the Vienna Institute for International Economic Comparisons (WIIW).

"Even with a ceasefire and a political solution, a strong upturn is not likely to set in until 2024, because private investors will probably only slowly return to the country."

$500 billion damage in six weeks

Nevertheless, the picture is mixed: where there is no fighting, as in the east and south, the economy is surprisingly resilient.

ATMs dispense banknotes, retailers ensure the food supply, the telephone network works.

In the regions devastated by the war, where the economy has come to a standstill, 53 percent of economic output, 43 percent of industrial goods and a third of agricultural production have so far been generated, says Astrow.

Half of the exports used to be handled through the now closed ports on the Black Sea.

Finding alternatives is becoming increasingly difficult because the Russian invaders are targeting the transport and rail infrastructure.

This is also important for transporting weapons to the front.

The World Bank has estimated damage to buildings and infrastructure at $60 billion after two months of war.

Since then, more devastation has occurred.

According to Infrastructure Minister Alexander Kubrakov, 20 to 30 percent of the roads and railways are damaged or destroyed, 300 bridges, 8,000 kilometers of state roads, dozens of motorway bridges.

The Ukravtodor road authority estimates the damage at the equivalent of $30 billion.

However, 500 kilometers of roads have been cleared and are passable again.

Broken roads are only part of the damage that Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal puts in the British “Economist” at 500 billion dollars for the first six weeks of the war.

Entire cities like Mariupol have been devastated.

Even in communities that were not hit so badly, houses, schools, clinics, industrial plants, power and water lines have been destroyed.

400 companies relocated to the West

President Zelenskyi tweeted encouragingly: "The economy of Ukraine is working despite the war." Prime Minister Shmyhal called on people in the uncontested regions to go to work and support the economy.

Tens of thousands of refugees are said to have returned to the country.

Business representatives report that many companies in the west of the country soon resumed production after the initial shock.

Since then, wiring harnesses for Western Europe's automotive industry have also been supplied again.

The Ukrainian central bank writes that companies are gradually overcoming the difficulties caused by the war.

After 30 percent of the companies were closed in the first weeks of the war, it was only 23 percent in mid-April.

"Electricity consumption and generation remain stable, while the number of restaurants open and their sales increase."

According to reports in Kyiv, 400 companies alone have been relocated from eastern Ukraine to the west with government help, and half of them are working again.

According to the American Chamber of Commerce, 41 percent of its member companies were fully operational by mid-April, half partially.

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